Napoli and Italy right-back Christian Maggio reveals the fear he felt when needing emergency surgery. “My lung was no longer there.”
The 32-year-old was rushed to hospital after suffering from breathing difficulties on a flight back from a Europa League game in Oporto in February.
“The problem had started in Naples, as I felt pain after a knock to the chest in training. I went to Oporto and on the way back felt ill,” Maggio told +N.
“I couldn’t breathe and asked to go to hospital. From the initial test they could already tell my lung was no longer there.
“It was a real psychological blow, going from feeling perfectly fine to lying on a hospital bed.”
He only got the all-clear from Federation medics to resume playing last week and admits to anxiety when chesting down the ball for the first time.
“I did feel something. I could’ve thought about dealing with any kind of injury, but in all honesty I didn’t prepare for this one.
“Then I got the all-clear from the medics and my first thought against Sampdoria was psychological, but it all passed.”
Despite so much time on the sidelines with a very serious injury, Maggio was named in Cesare Prandelli’s 30-man preliminary World Cup squad.
“I hope to be there. Now we have three or four days to train together and see where we are. At the moment the important thing is to be in the preliminary list, but I put myself in Prandelli’s shoes and realise there can be some worries about having a player who was out for a while.
“Lorenzo Insigne is there too and it’s obvious I’d be happy if he went to the World Cup. He is still young and when he gets pig-headed I always remind him that he has a bright future ahead.
“The main team to worry about at the World Cup is Spain. We faced Brazil in the Confederations Cup last season and to be honest they didn’t impress me very much, even if we were in great shape. Anything can happen at the World Cup, as Argentina are in the running, while Colombia and Belgium can surprise.”